Dem Candidates Again Tour State
April 25, 1960
Dem Candidates Again Tour State
Wayne, W. Va. (AP) – Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass), touring the economically hard-hit areas of southern West Virginia today, said federal agencies should be directed to give depressed areas special preference in the awarding of government contracts.
He told about 250 persons standing in warm sunshine on the courthouse lawn that “West Virginia, which was first in the proportion of its men who shed their blood in Korea, is last among the states in defense payrolls, last in defense employment and last in the amount of money spent by the Defense Department.”
He also advocated what he called “coal by wire” – the generating of electricity through the use of coal. West Virginia’s mining industry is employing about 65 percent of the number of men working a decade ago.
He did not mention Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn), his opponent in the May 10 West Virginia presidential primary, by name. Humphrey also was on the campaign trail today, touring the central section of the state.
Kennedy had a prepared speech for the brief stopover here, but he touched only on a few points of the text. Instead, he seemed to prefer shaking hands, chatting with groups and offering a more down-to-earth approach to his campaign technique.
Kennedy started a new campaign tour from Huntington today.
Although his plane was late arriving from Oregon, where he also entered in the Democratic presidential primary, Kennedy managed to breakfast with Democratic leaders in this Ohio Valley city, tour a dress factory and hastily inspect the Veterans Administration hospital here before leaving by bus for a series of stops in southern West Virginia.
At the Huntington Manufacturing Co., where some 700 women are employed making dresses, he worked his way through sewing machines and ironing boards to shake hands and talk briefly.
His rival in the May 10 West Virginia primary, Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn) beat him on the road by several hours. Humphrey’s campaign bus left Charleston at 6 a. m. on a full day’s tour of central and north-central West Virginia.
In the speech scheduled for delivery here, Kennedy said “there is really only one issue in this state, and that one is jobs.”
West Virginia has about 70,000 out of work, one of the highest relative figures of any state in the country. A quarter-million of its residents receive free food from the government.
“I am confident the people of West Virginia will not be distracted by irrelevant discussions – and I am confident they will not base their decision upon phony issues – I am confident they want to know where each candidate stands on the critical problems that affect them,” Kennedy said.
“It has been said that the State of the rest of America – that it is different. Somehow it is implied that it is inferior.
“I have traveled across your great state and I know West Virginia is typical of America – it is typical of the strength and courage and determination of its citizens – it is typical in its belief in the great American traditions of freedom and fair play and brotherhood of man – of all faiths and races under God . . .
“The problems of West Virginia are not local, but national. That is why the next President must begin with a fresh deal for West Virginia.”
Summersville, W. Va. (AP) Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn), campaigning through farming and mining areas of central West Virginia, said today if the Republicans “had the imagination of a crocodile,” the state’s lagging coal industry might have been rejuvenated years ago.
He completely ignored Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass), his rival in the Democratic presidential primary May 10, to criticize the Republican administrations in both Washington and Charleston during a short speech on the courthouse steps here. About 150 persons stood on the sidewalk or sat on nearby park benches, listening to him.
“You can convert coal into electricity and send it into great population areas outside of West Virginia,” Humphrey said.
“If (they) had the imagination of a crocodile, they’d get working on it. If the Russians can send electricity a thousand miles into Siberia, I have a sneaking suspicion we can do as well here in West Virginia.”
He also had harsh words for Eisenhower’s food surplus program.
Instead of spending $485 million a year to store surplus food, he said, the produce should be put to use.
“The best place to store food is in the human body.”
Humphrey started back on the campaign trail in West Virginia early today. His bus left Charleston at 6 a. m. for a half-dozen or so stops before winding up at Fairmont for an evening rally.
When he arrived at this Nicholas County seat, he bounded out of his campaign bus and over breakfast with some 30 to 40 residents attacked “this well-fed complacent Republican administration which ignores the terrible hunger now stalking communities in West Virginia and elsewhere.”
“I don’t care what the Republicans say about prosperity,” Humphrey declared, “as long as American families are pushed to hunger by forces beyond their control. I will not relax my efforts . . . the hungry cannot wait.”
Apparently both Humphrey and Kennedy are settling on unemployment and relief to distressed areas as the one big issue they would like to concentrate on during the remaining two weeks of the crucial campaign.
Many sections of this mountain state are suffering from economic blight. Judging from the response the two candidates have been receiving, they couldn’t pick a more receptive topic.
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